It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when many vibrations and variations in sound pressure turn into music . There’s something about music when it is good that just strikes you on the deepest level and makes you say, “this is music.” Every trigger in your brain is firing at once. And it’s beautiful that so many different styles and combinations of sounds have that power. I’ve been moved to tears by a myriad of genres. Yet what sounds like music to some sounds like noise to others. I was recently with a friend who basically only listens to classical music when Radiohead came on and I asked him what he thought about it. He said he didn’t mind the singing but couldn’t stand the guitars, which blows my mind but you can’t argue with taste. I just find the many different paths people take to get to their music sacred place interesting.
In a world full of awe-inspiring endeavors, music transcends nearly all of them to me and I’m never sure how much of that is my bias as a musician or how many artists of other mediums feel the same way. Yet for something I consider a divine art form, it has been commodified by our culture, which I’m not saying is entirely a bad thing. It allowed for an entire class of professional musicians that had basically never existed before. While there are tales of traveling minstrels, for the most part the only professional musicians throughout history were court and church composers. That didn’t mean fewer people played music though. Prior to modern recording, amateur musicianship was a more common thing as people relied on it to entertain themselves. More families gathered around the piano to sing songs together, without any real consideration of doing so for a living. Attitudes shifted along the way separating the notion of professional and amateur musicians. This likely had some to do with recording music making quality musicianship, or lack thereof, apparent. Again I’m not saying anything bad about this, I’ve certainly enjoyed access to recorded music. But I also don’t think anyone that wants to play music should ever be discouraged from doing so on whatever level they have in them. Music is for everyone, and it can be something to bob your head to in line at the store or a completely immersive religious experience. There is truly nothing to compare to it and I’m thankful for it every day.